As part of the actions under the Government's Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016 (the Act) introduced new streamlined arrangements to enable planning applications for strategic housing developments (SHDs) of 100 housing units or more, or student accommodation or shared accommodation developments of 200 bed spaces or more, to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála for determination.
The primary purpose of the SHD arrangements is to support efficiency in the planning decision-making process, providing greater certainty for developers in terms of the timeframes within which proposals for such developments can be determined, while also fully respecting the need to ensure proper planning and sustainable development, the statutory requirements for public consultation and consideration of observations submitted.
Section 4(2) of the Act provides for a review of the operation and effectiveness of the SHD arrangements. In this regard, I established a Review Group to assess the operation and effectiveness of the SHD provisions and to report back to me by end September 2019. To augment the work of the Review Group, a public consultation on the SHD arrangements was advertised and held in July 2019.
The Report of the Review Group was received on 24 September 2019 and is currently being considered prior to it, and my conclusions of the review, being laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. Section 4(2)(a) of the Act provides that this must be done not later than 30 October 2019.